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9 PM Daily Brief – 12 April 2016

Brief of newspaper articles for the day bearing
relevance to Civil Services preparation

What is 9 PM brief?


GS PAPER 2


 

[1] Supreme Court withdraws 2013 order on medical entrance test

The Hindu

Supreme Court recalled its 2013 verdict National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)

  • declaring it unconstitutional.
  • (Supreme court disqualified the NEET, a single common entrance test system for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses)

Aim of NEET

  • To end rampant corruption in medical admissions (payment of huge capitation fees or donations in private colleges)

Conflict

  • NEET would deprive the States, State-run universities and medical colleges, including those enjoying the constitutional protection, of their right to admit students to MBBS, BDS and postgraduate courses as per their own procedures, beliefs and dispensations.

Conclusion

  • NEET will surely bring some transparency in the medical admission system.
  • It will also reduce money making business in medical colleges. Doctors should be made because of their talent and hard work not by their heavy parents pockets.

[2] Health cover: Too little, too scarce

The Hindu

“80% Indian population not covered under Health Insurance Scheme (National Sample Survey). The article looks into how the Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana – a centrally sponsored health insurance scheme for BPL families, has failed in its objectives. RSBY looks to provide cashless transaction in public as well as selected private hospitals. “

The Facts:

  • There is alarmingly high ratio of people in both urban (82%) and rural centre (86%) without a health insurance cover. This has been attributed to lack of capacity building (i.e. making people aware of the scheme). The government health insurance scheme also reached only 13.1% families in rural while only meagre 12% in urban areas.
  • The survey also shows that financial constraint has been a roadblock in family going for medical consultation.
  • The absence of physical medical facility has also been a minor roadblock with 15.4 % respondents in rural area and 1.3% in urban areas citing it as a reason for not going for medical consultation.

RSBY has become a showcase

The two factors that have let down the potential of RSBY are:

  1. Lack of capacity building: people are not well informed about the benefits that can accrue to them through RSBY
  2. Poor infrastructural & care facilities in public health centres and hospitals – which drives people for private care., where the costs are sky high making it non-viable avenue for poors. This is evident from datas that 72% in rural and 79% in urban centres opt for private care.

Conclusion

The most important aspects that plague health sector is poor infrastructural facilities in our health centres. Adding on top is the lack of capacity building mechanism associated with different schemes of government leading to poor targeting of benefits.

The government needs to address both the points to give health sector some fresh air.

[3] Giving peace a chance in Yemen

The Hindu

Context

Human rights have been violated in the middle of the conflict between Yemen and Houthi rebels

What has happened?

  • More than six thousand people have been killed since the bombing by Saudi started, half of them were civilians, millions have been displaced, 80% of population needs humanitarian assistance and malnutrition is prevalent among children

What is the truce

  • Unlike previous times, Saudi backed forces and Houthis have called for a ceasefire and said that they will respect the truce

How did this come about

  • Since March 2015, Saudi started bombing Yemen to reinstate the President and bring order in the nation. One year has passed and the Houthis still hold the capital Sanaa
  • Result of this has been millions have been displaced and malnutrition is prevalent

Why the west is turning their eyes away

  • They don’t want to further make Saudis hostile towards them after the US has had a nuclear deal with Iran
  • Also the UK and the US have supplied arms to Saudis during the conflict while the human rights were being violated

Way forward

Houthis make 30-45% of the of the total population of the country, so it’s not like few bunch of rebels can be wiped out. Pragmatic solutions will need to be found out, so as to lessen military intervention and removing violence

 

[4] NITI Aayog plans new planning framework

The Hindu

What happened?

The government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog,is working on a sector-based medium-term planning framework.

Why new framework?

2016 -1 7 is the last year of 12th Five year plan and with Planning Commission dismantled, there is a need of new framework to plan the growth further.

Will the planning go away?

No, growth plans without a roadmap cannot achieve much. What is needed is clarity on how to achieve medium term and long term growth.

Medium-term growth is dependent on past performance while long-term growth can only be enhanced by structural reforms and improving the productive capacity of the economy.

 

Changes proposed in the budget

 

  • Plan and Non-plan Distinction: From the next financial year, the plan and non—plan distinction will be done away with for expenditure classification.

 

  • Cost-centric approach: In this kind of approach; establishments, schemes and projects are treated as such and as per constitutional framework,  revenue-capital distinction will be the basis of expenditure classification.

 

  • Bottom-up approach : The primary units of appropriation at both central and state levels are being revisited to create a clear distinction between revenue and capital items of expenditure so that accounts can be prepared in a bottoms-up manner.

[5] The Next Leader Of The UN

Indian Express

Issue

  • Finding the best possible candidate for the United Nations Secretary General (SG).

Challenges worldwide

  • Appalling conflicts and human suffering in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Europe
  • Violent extremism
  • Discrimination against women and girls
  • Rise in xenophobia
  • Extreme poverty
  • Migration on the rise
  • Climate change and the sustainable development goals

Ideal Candidate

  • A person with strong moral courage and integrity
  • Ideally a woman, as she will become a voice for the world’s most vulnerable people and embody the very ideals and purposes of the UN.
  • SG must use her independence, impartiality and good offices to prevent conflict, broker peace and stand up for human rights.

The Selection Process so far

  • There was no clarity on when the selection process actually started.
  • There is  no formal job description.
  • There was no real opportunity for substantive and open engagement with the candidates — neither for the full UN membership nor the public.
  • Recommendations were  negotiated behind closed doors,  primarily by the five permanent members of the Security Council.
  • It resulted into a  mostly symbolic appointment by the UN General Assembly.

Changes made in the selection process , and agreed to by all 193 members of the General Assembly,

  • Open dialogues — called “SG hearings” will be held by the President of the UN General Assembly.
  • Each candidate is expected to present a vision statement on the challenges and opportunities facing the UN and the next SG.
  • They will be questioned for two hours by the full UN membership as well as civil society. Each such dialogue will be streamed live online.

Towards a vigorous, inclusive and transparent selection process.

These innovations will not directly transform our world but they do have the potential to establish a new standard of transparency and inclusivity in international affairs.

[6] India, US and Artificial Intelligence

Indian Express

Context

Cooperation with the US in development of Artificial Intelligence, India is committed to combating violent terrorism with the US

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. It is also the name of the academic field of study which studies how to create computers and computer software that are capable of intelligent behavior.

Why use AI?

Artificial Intelligence can be used in many complex ways, just like a human can, such as vision, voice recognition and to process huge amounts of data.

How is the AI going to be effective?

  • Speedy advances in robotics and computerised machinery are on their way to transform modern warfare to have an edge over the enemy
  • Fully automatic weapons are bound to be used in coming years because of their capability and the complexity they have achieved
  • Although human will not be phased out completely but AI can perform the complex military tasks much quicker

Why India needs an AI

  • Growing gap between India and China in conventional military capabilities, China’s defence budget is four times the budget of India
  • This might enable India in coping and reaching a level at par to China in defence capabilities
  • To counter groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, AI might be useful, although the some investment has been done in robotics and AI but more needs to be done.

US-India and AI

Both the nation wants stability in Asia region, both do not outright reject the idea of autonomous machines, but a want careful approach to the regulation of the AI systems

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter

  • He has been key person in driving the Pentagon t0 developing AI through the help of silicon valley to offset the growing superiority of China and Russia and terror groups like the Islamic State
  • India is closely tied to silicon valley and this common connection will help India in deepening the connection and sharing of knowledge
  • Carter has recently appointed Google’s Eric Schmidt as the chairman of a new Defence Innovation Advisory Board.

What is Third offset strategy?

  • A US deptt. Of defence strategy in developing and research in robotics and systems autonomy in improving the US military power
  • US hopes that AI will help counter its rivals, Russia and China
  • Earlier two were tactical nuclear and precision guided missiles

[7] US wants a stronger Indian military to deter, not provoke, conflict with China

Indian Express

Issue

A stronger Indian military is in America’s interest.

Interests of the USA

  • Powerful Indian military
  • Maintaining its military edge
  • Ensuring that its defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia.

Why US is interested in strong Indian military

  • Because of the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military.
  • While mentioning US-Indian defence partnership, US does not mention China because  public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China.
  • The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India.
  • Relative military weakness is provocative and this increases the chance of conflict.

 

  • Conflict between India and China isn’t in America’s interest , (according to the writer, The writer is director for defence and aerospace at the US-India Business Council and former director for India, Office of the US Secretary of Defence)

 

[8] Time to give meaning to land ownership

Livemint

Context

Property which is not defined or isn’t formally written on a piece paper by the state authority makes for a huge number of problems related with it

Rajasthan has passed the Rajasthan Urban Land(Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016

The bill aims at removing fraudulent  practices in sale and purchase of non-agricultural land in urban areas by issuing a certificate of ownership for a nominal fee

Why is it important to formalize informal property

  • Capital is the main source of money for a person, a company or the state, and how the utilization of the property takes place in monetization of it, is the key to make progress.
  • In India the property rights have not been defined well enough and this is affecting India’s economic potential
  • Some entities acquire land illegally and thereby further increase the conflict between people and the state

Why was it difficult to define land ownership

  • No land records were found after abolishing Zamindari after Independence
  • Huge burden of titling fell on the hands of state(since land is a state subject), and since they were unwilling to do it, they just continued as it was.
  • Ensuring the genuineness of the seller’s land fell upon the buyer for registration, this complicated the land market
  • Even after post liberalization era, rightful properties were undervalued because the owner had no registration, so there was risk for the buyer

The land market situation in India cannot be fixed until and unless the latter becomes the only system for property rights.

Land Transformation Management System

A new system that has been mentioned in the union budget to help manage land ownership on a wider scale and effectively cater to the problems associated with it

What it intends to do

  • Land records are to be joined with Aadhar numbers
  • Credit assessment could be done easily when reviewing an application based on the owner’s land
  • Better land determination by the government
  • Enhancing transparency in land holdings
  • Giving fertilizer subsidies on the basis of real holdings

GS PAPER 3


[1] When populism trumps public safety

The Hindu

Issue

Public safety policies have to be delinked from religion and politics if tragedies like Kollam have to be prevented.

Real tragedy

The tragedy lies in the fact that the religion and politics dominate the decisions taken by civil administration for the purpose of safety in public premises and gatherings. Putting religious sentiments and political discourse above safety of public is going to lead to many more incidents like Kollam.

Questions raised after such incident

  • Whether the civil administration was negligent or incompetent?
  • When the local administration had turned down the request for a fireworks competition then  why was the order not implemented?

What we need to do

  • There is a need for a will to legislate and implement stringent fire safety policy.
  • The quality of deployment of safety personnel is more important than the quantity to control the situation of chaos or disaster in public gatherings.
  • And it should be combined with the severity of adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP).

[2] RBI’s liquidity revamp is not QE

Livemint

Issue

The recent revised liquidity management framework by the RBI is not quantitative easing (QE).

Why this misunderstanding?

Because some commentators (who think it is QE) do not appreciate the link between a central bank’s liquidity operations and its balance sheet.

What is liquidity management?

  • Banks are often evaluated on their liquidity, or their ability to meet cash and collateral obligations without incurring substantial losses.
  • Liquidity management describes the effort of investors or managers to reduce liquidity risk exposure.

What is quantitative easing?

  • Quantitative easing is an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.
  • Quantitative easing increases the money supply by flooding financial institutions with capital in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity.
  • Quantitative easing is considered when short-term interest rates are at or approaching zero, and does not involve the printing of new banknotes.

Why RBI’s liquidity revamp is not QE?

  • There is a confusion that liquidity deficit is thought of as being cured by additional money printing.
  • The reality is that the overall liquidity support by RBI isn’t changing, though it will be more durable.
  • There is no excessive money creation, which is the hallmark of QE.
  • RBI will inject durable liquidity (i.e. reserve money) as needed and then adjust the short-term liquidity to be consistent with its stance.
  • The new framework modernizes liquidity management by making it more market-based.
  • It will also improve monetary transmission without excessive money creation.
  • Banks, however, will have to buckle up to improve their own liquidity management.

1. The lead article of the day is covered under Editorial Today. Click here to read.

2. Science and Technology and Environment articles has been left out, they will be covered in weekly compilation for next week.

BY: ForumIAS Editorial Team 

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  • Jeremy Thangkhokai Haokip

    Forum IAS, Please help us in compilation of other section such as HEALTH, EDUCATION… etc. thanks.

  • ricky

    Is there compilation of subject also available???
    Pls guide if yes, then where to find?

  • Master yoda

    Has science articles yet been covered???i cannot find science compilations for any weak.